Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2024 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Song Kun (b.1977)
Sukhavati-Hermit Fairy(Painted in 2018)

Oil, glass bead, crystal resin collage on canvas

45 × 60 cm. 17 3/4 × 23 5/8 in.

Signed and titled in Chinese and dated on the reverse
7 Sep - 27 Oct 2019, Epithed Portrayed, Don Gallery, Shanghai

Don Gallery, Shanghai
Hive Center for Contemporary Art
Acquired directly by present important private Asian collector from the above

I Think, Therefore, I Am
Song Kun’s Cyborg Hermit Fairy

"Cyborg is not a trendy creation. Instead, it is a reflection of the alienation that has arisen between you and those closest to you in a world that has become like this."
——Song Kun

Song Kun, born in Inner Mongolia in 1977, is known as an outstanding representative of the post-70s Chinese artists and has attracted tremendous attention as a prominent Chinese female artist in the global art scene in recent years.

She entered the Fine Arts School Affiliated with the China Central Academy of Fine Arts at the age of 15 and completed her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2002 and 2006. Then she was recruited to teach at the school. During her college years, she formed the avant-garde art group "N12", and with 12 artists, she practiced art in the form of individual creation and collective exhibition without a curator or exhibition theme, becoming one of the important figures who took the lead in promoting the development of the Chinese contemporary art market.

Song Kun is adept at employing gentle and delicate techniques. Drawing inspiration from the stories of those around her, she utilizes a "stream-of-consciousness narrative" through mediums such as painting, installation, music, and video to delve into discussions about human nature, the diverse identities of contemporary women, and other issues widely debated today. The vast grassland and the peaceful natural landscape of her hometown also inspired her, reflected in her ethereal, Oriental classical beauty of the picture landscape. Growing up, she loved rock, electronic music, fashion shows, and other subcultures, making her work mixed with academy and freedom, tradition and rebellion, mainstream and subculture, and other opposing styles.

Her works have been exhibited at prominent institutions including the Hammer Museum, QIAO SPACE, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, and others in Los Angeles. They are held in the collections of esteemed institutions such as the M+ Museum in Hong Kong, the Long Museum in Shanghai, and the CAFA Art Museum.

Broad Vision, Vigorous and Dense Brushstrokes: Reflections on the Future World

"The three boundaries transcended in the ‘Cyborg’ lived reality: between human and animal, organic and machine, nature, and non-nature."
——Donna J. Haraway

After 2012, Song Kun gradually transcended dimensions, moving away from everyday and realistic themes to explore avant-garde concepts related to "cyborgs" (bio-humans, half-mechanical beings). In 2015, she even incorporated Buddhist concepts such as the "Pure Land" and the "Wheel of Reincarnation." This infusion became integral to constructing cyborg characters, giving birth to the surreal Sukhavati series. The characters in her works, referred to as the "Animist," are enigmatic yet tranquil. At the same time, the concept of "Pure Land" alludes to the purity and authenticity within individuals’ hearts.

Through this series, Song Kun examines the dialectical relationship between the human body and the subconscious, the dichotomy of "thought" and "existence" in contemporary society. As she puts it, "What interests me is how mixed identities, when facing the complexities of reality and the constraints of order, preserve images and information from contemporary life experiences, breaking free from defined rules to achieve spiritual expression."

The artwork presented in this Spring auction, Sukhavati-Hermit Fairy, epitomizes her exploration. Song Kun uses delicate and harmonious brushstrokes to present close-up profiles of "Animist". The entire painting is dominated by a calm and transparent gray tone, inviting viewers to involuntarily enter an ethereal realm where reality and illusion are indistinguishable.

This piece is imbued with the distinctive ink wash characteristics of the artist’s "Cao’s Ink-Washed Attire," one of the ancient Chinese painting techniques for depicting clothing folds. This technique was created by Cao Zhongda during the Northern Qi period in the Central Asian Cao state. In the painting, the figures emerge against a gray and white background like reliefs, drifting through the depths of clouds and resembling phantoms flowing across the canvas. The contours of her profile, reminiscent of undulating mountains, break through the chaotic haze of the heavens and earth, revealing a vivid clarity. With a full forehead, high nose bridge, and charming lips, her translucent porcelain-like skin seamlessly blends with the background, creating a clever use of negative space. Adorned in a semi-transparent, ethereal robe that exposes a curved collar, she appears like a celestial goddess ascending with feathers.

Amidst the silver-gray tones, a mixture of pale yellow and dense beige radiates, incorporating industrial materials favoured by the artist, such as crystal resin and modeling paste. This creates a dramatic contrast with the painting’s soft and translucent central theme. The amalgamation of these colours connects with the deep green hues in the woman’s profound eyes, extending like wings towards the distance, ultimately merging into the background’s gray hues. The artist’s exquisite and delicate technique is genuinely admirable. The figure’s gaze in the painting is as sharp as lightning, steadfastly fixed on the distance. This extraordinary cyborg character, seemingly endowed with thoughts and emotions, prompts contemplation on the future trajectory of our high-tech world, imbued with profound significance.

Price estimate:
HKD: 150,000 - 250,000
USD: 19,200 - 31,900

Auction Result:
HKD: 180,000



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